Girls and young women make up a small percentage of young people who offend. However, they often present with complex needs and significant trauma histories, including abuse, family violence, self-harm and higher rates of mental illness.

This is especially the case with Aboriginal girls and young women, who have higher levels of complexity and vulnerability through socioeconomic disadvantage and exposure to the effects of intergenerational trauma.

Girls’ and young women’s offending pathways and trajectories are also distinct. They are often involved in offending for a shorter period, commit fewer offences than young men, and, overall, commit less serious offences.

To meet the specific needs of girls and young women, we are taking a gender-responsive, strengths-based approach.


Reducing reoffending and promoting community safety by supporting children and young people to turn their lives around

  • Our case management approach will have gender responsivity at its centre. It will respond to the specific needs and risks of girls and young women, and focus on building relationships to support their rehabilitation and positive development, including building connections with their family and significant others.
  • As part of the future interim three-precinct custodial system, we will establish a dedicated sub-precinct for girls and young women at the Parkville Youth Justice Centre to provide equitable access to education, health and other supports.
  • The gender-responsive custodial operating model for girls and young women takes into account their particular needs and risks, and helps support them to reintegrate with the community. The operating model provides for gender-specific health screening and admission procedures that respond to the predominance of trauma and sexual assault among girls and young women, and supports the delivery of gender-responsive programs and interventions that address the specific issues, risks and needs of girls and young women.

Investing in a skilled, safe and stable Youth Justice system, and safe systems of work

  • Our staff will be trained and supported to work effectively with girls and young women, including through the new custodial operating philosophy and new practice framework for custodial staff that will have gender responsivity as a key component.